“I watched a dear friend of my family fight melanoma for six years,” says Hayley Stowe ‘14. “That experience shaped my goal to be an oncologist and make a difference in the lives of people battling cancer.”
Stowe, a biological sciences major with a concentration in human biology, traveled to El Remate, Guatemala during her first year at NC State. While working in a medical clinic on an alternative service break trip sponsored by the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics, and Public Service, Stowe met a local medicine woman named Doña Maria. Doña Maria spends her time traveling throughout the country introducing Guatemalans to herbal remedies to combat a host of illnesses. This trip to Central America reinforced Stowe’s desire to enter the world of medicine.
Hayley Stowe interviews Doña Maria in Guatemala.
Stowe later received a Park Enrichment Grant and Chilton Undergraduate Research Award to return to Guatemala in 2011 so that she could continue her work with Doña Maria. The pair collaborated to create an herbal medicine field guide based on Doña Maria’s knowledge. With the help of her ethnobotany study supervisor and mentor, DeYu Xie in the Department of Plant Biology, Stowe plans to publish the guide in both English and Spanish and have the proceeds support Doña Maria and her family.
She recently returned from a summer internship with the Ireland Cooperative Oncology Research Group (ICORG) in Dublin. Stowe worked with the five departments that make up ICORG’s central office, and participated in rotations to clinical trial locations in the organization’s 24 hospitals throughout Ireland, monitoring patients and their treatment progress.
For nearly two decades, ICORG has provided over 7,500 cancer patients with access to clinical research and treatments. The group works in collaboration with cancer research groups in other countries, such as Translational Research in Oncology and Cancer Research UK, with the ultimate goal of advancing cancer research.
At NC State, Stowe has been gaining lab experience by serving as a research assistant to Michael Dickey in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Dickey also serves as her Park Faculty Mentor.
Stowe has also been an active member of her community. Along with teammates from the NC State softball team, Stowe has provided softball clinics for local youth. She has also volunteered with InterAct, a Raleigh nonprofit organization that assists victims of domestic violence.
After graduation, Stowe plans to attend medical school with the intention of practicing oncology and conducting research on cancer medicines.